This is my “adventure of a lifetime” or “voyage of discovery”. I know it is not exactly, to boldly go where no Pedro has gone before, but nevertheless, the sort of journey that requires a certain amount of planning and preparation.
Having left home in a hurry, once the doctors had given me the thumbs up, the planning and preparation descended into chaos.
I had to drop my car off en route and get a taxi to the train station. I was a bit tight for time and in my haste, I managed to overlook one small bag which contained items that were essential to my completing the journey as planned. Plus, my Ipod Touch (which is a very efficient communication device), was still connected to my car stereo.
I realised that my Ipod was missing as soon as I got on the train and by the time I reached Gatwick, I had decided to bite the bullet and buy a replacement. Sorted. Except, it was not long after I checked into my hotel in Lima that I discovered I had left another vital piece of equipment behind. What good is a laptop without a power lead and adaptor? Only as good as the last charge it received, is the answer. Not good at all.
There is an upside to this, as I had to locate a computer store, explain the problem and get it rectified, speaking only in Spanish. None of my previous experience of Spanish had included technical issues to do with computing, so I thought I was facing a somewhat daunting challenge. Not so. All went remarkably smoothly in locating a large building – CompuPalace – which was absolutely full of small retail outlets and repairs and servicing workshops.
The first place I tried did not sell power cables but was able to direct me to a workshop that did. I explained the problem and they had me sorted in a few minutes. The only problem came when they asked me to fill in my details on a form. There seems to be a complicated tax system here requiring delicate itemisation of purchases regarding what is going to whom and where, although I am by no means certain of it.
Where the form required me to write my name, I wrote, of course, Pete Cable. Well, as it happens, in Spanish, just as in English, a power lead is “un cable”. There followed a discussion as to how I had, or from my point of view, had not, cocked up the paperwork. The matter only being resolved when I realised my Spanish was not yet good enough to make them understand what a mere glimpse of my passport would. Smiles all round and I departed feeling much relieved.
On my way back to my hotel, I visited several enclosed markets, devoted exclusively to Inca products. I made some small purchases but made the traders work hard for their money as the language practice was invaluable. It is true that immersion is the best way to improve your skill in a foreign language, however, I decided to keep walking when I saw the Turkish Baths.